Impacts of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission of South Africa

Out of 7,112 petitioners, 5,392 people were refused amnesty and 849 were granted amnesty.

Audience Hearing

The effectiveness of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission faces examination on many levels – namely its usefulness in terms of exposing the truth of the apartheid regime, the feelings of reconciliation that can be linked to the commission, and the positive effects that the commission brought about, both domestically and internationally, in a variety of ways.  Most South Africans have understood the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to be most effectual in commanding the truth to the forefront of society, however, in varying degrees.  According to a survey study conducted by Jay and Erika Vora, “The Afrikaners perceived the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to be less effective in bringing out the truth than the English participants, and much less effective than did the Xhosa.” Advocates of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission contend that its effects are long-term and will materialize as time progresses.  Due to South Africa’s perceived success in rebuilding itself and reconciling human-rights violations in wake of political change, other countries have implemented similar truth commissions.  The success of South Africa’s reconciliatory process versus the methods employed during the Nuremburg Trials from World War II remains open for debate.

Suggested essay: "Trading Truth for Justice?" by Susie Linfield